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What’s the question(s) you fear the most?

A colleague, after watching a recent presentation I did on trial preparation, emailed me his appreciation. Part of his comment, “My favorite nugget: ask my client what question does he dread being asked on the stand.” That idea was indeed a “nugget” in my presentation–something I mentioned briefly without elaborating. In my own trial preparation […]

The (un)likeable lawyer

Recently I took over representation in a divorce case from a younger, less-experienced attorney. That attorney sought my advice on what I thought she should have done differently. Being the mentoring type, I suggested she drop by the next time she was in my neighborhood and we could discuss it. Thus we met last week […]

If you like it, put a ring on it

Within popular culture, the viewpoint on marriage is that it’s something women intensely desire and something men have to be dragged into reluctantly. In this mindset, marriage enables women to raise children with a stable helpmate and source of income while men give up their “freedom” and money while being forced into a life of […]

Should the law differentiate mutual combat from domestic abuse

I recently attended the South Carolina Bar’s annual guardian ad litem training. One of the presenters discussed “Domestic Violence and its Impact on Children.” Her oral presentation, but not her written materials, differentiated two types of domestic violence. The first–and this is not how she labeled it–is what one might think of a low-level mutual […]

Someone didn’t get the memo

As part of the February 7, 2018 Shearouse advance sheet, the Supreme Court asked the South Carolina General Assembly to approve a change to the rules of appellate procedure. One of the proposed changes would add a “Standard of Review” section to appellate briefs: (D) Standard of Review. If all the issues are governed by […]

The time to start thinking about trial is when you start the case

Prospective domestic relations clients often begin their search process by determining whether they want a “negotiator” or a “litigator.” If they hope to resolve the case amicably, they search for a negotiator; if they want “victory”–whatever they perceive as victory–they seek a litigator. Such potential clients frequently ask me a variation of the question: am […]

Passports and child custody

I know family court judges who don’t have passports and am frankly shocked–until you experience foreign cultures its hard to truly understand that radically different approaches to parenting other than the current American middle-class norm might be effective (and might not be potentially abusive). The world is diverse and increasingly interconnected. Children who don’t get […]

Possibly correct but poorly reasoned custody and relocation decision from the Court of Appeals

The January 24, 2018 Court of Appeals opinion in Burgess v. Arnold is possibly correct but, in at least three important particulars, poorly reasoned. Burgess stems from Mother’s appeal of a family court order that gave the parties joint custody with her having primary custody over all issue except education. That order required that she […]

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